BOSTON (CBS) – Joe Namath had a great career in college and in the pros, but perhaps he’s best remembered for his bold guarantee of a victory before Super Bowl III against the heavily favored Baltimore Colts.
Namath’s Jets upset the Colts 16-7 and the legend of Broadway Joe was etched in stone.
But it doesn’t always work out that way. In fact, it almost never does.
Sometimes athletes, coaches and the like fail to deliver on their sports guarantees, so here’s a list of not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4 but 5 of the most memorable times it’s happened.
5. Rex Ryan
Ryan has guaranteed a Super Bowl victory seemingly every year since becoming the Jets head coach in 2009, which makes this man chuckle every time:
4. Anthony Smith
Who? Who you ask?
Anthony Smith, pictured above, was the no-name safety that guaranteed a Steelers victory against New England when the Patriots were marching towards their undefeated 2007 regular season. Tom Brady had four touchdowns on the day, Randy Moss caught two of them and Smith was burned on two long throws. The Patriots would go on to win 34-13 en route to their 13th straight victory.
Smith has never been seen or heard from since.
3. LeBron James
The King would be ranked no. 1 if not for one thing: his age. The 29-year-old is still in the prime of his career and still has plenty of years left to deliver on his promise of 8 NBA titles.
2. Dan Gilbert
Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert was so upset after The Decision that he guaranteed his Cavs team would win an NBA Finals before LeBron James.
1. Matt Hasselbeck
It’s one thing to make a guarantee, play the regular season, compete in the playoffs and then it doesn’t come true.
But when you make a guarantee and minutes later — literally minutes later — you’re the goat that causes your team to lose after making said guarantee, that warrants the top spot on this list.
Honorable Mention: The 1969 Lakers
This doesn’t necessarily qualify as a “guarantee” per se because it was never explicitly stated, but it might as well be and it’s simply too good not to share.
Lakers owner Jack Kent Cooke was so sick and tired of his team losing in the NBA Finals to the Celtics that he traded for superstar Wilt Chamberlain in the summer of 1968 to add to a roster of Elgin Baylor and Jerry West.
When the two teams squared off again in the 1969 Finals, Cooke was so confident of a Lakers victory in Game 7 that he had ordered thousands of balloons with “World Champion Lakers” printed on them. Flyers were placed in every seat letting fans know, “When, not if the Lakers win the title, balloons will be released from the rafters, the USC marching band will play ‘Happy Days Are Here Again’ and broadcaster Chuck Hearn will interview Elgin Baylor, Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain in that order.'”
That didn’t work out so well for Cooke. The C’s won the series 4-3 and beat LA 108-106 in Game 7.
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